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“Everyday Cheapskate”

Posted on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm

Whose kids turn off the lights?

SYNDICATED COLUMNIST

everyday cheapskate - mary huntmary hunt

I got a good chuckle when I read today’s first reader tip from “Dad.” For a split second there, I could hear my own father asking the age-old parent/child question: Don’t you know how to turn off the light when you leave the room?

MOTION SENSOR SWITCHES. Apparently, my kids don’t know how to turn the lights off, so I have installed motion sensor switches in the bathrooms, laundry room and basement. Installation was very easy, and now those lights turn on and off automatically depending on whether anyone is in the room. This has lowered our power bill tremendously. More than that, our home is a happier place now that dad has stopped harping at the kids to turn off the lights. —Dad

HANDY PAINT CONTAINER. I was disappointed when my favorite brand of coffee began coming in a plastic container instead the familiar metal coffee can. I’d use those empty metal cans for everything, from holding screws and switch plates to soaking paintbrushes. But I discovered that the molded handle on the new plastic container made it the perfect container for paint — especially when needing to do a touch-up. The plastic coffee “cans” are easy to carry up and down ladders, and the plastic lid seals well enough to keep paint fresh until the project is done. —Johnny

BEST PAINT DROP CLOTH. Recycle your discarded vinyl flannel backed tablecloths. They make great drop cloths for painting. Lay them flannel side up on the floor, and the flannel will absorb all your spills and mishaps. The paint does not seep through the vinyl, saving your floor from paint stains. When painting is complete, hang the cloth outside to dry, hosing or sponging off the vinyl side as necessary.

These tablecloth drop cloths last for years and can be used repeatedly. —Barbara

NATURAL ROACH CONTROL. This is the most effective treatment I ever found for cockroaches, which I learned from living in Australia’s Northern Territory, where cockroaches are about three inches long and very scary. Take a glass jar with a lid (recycle a pickle jar or something similar) and put some peanut butter in the bottom of the jar. Next, put a good smear of vegetable oil around the inside lip of the jar to make it very slippery. The roaches smell the peanut butter, go in after it and can’t get out because they slip and fall back into the jar.

When the jar has a few roaches in it, apply the lid and place the jar in the sun to kill the roaches. Then throw the whole lot in the garbage. This will effectively reduce the population in a short time. If they lay egg cases while they are dying, as they do with traps, it is all contained in the jar.

When we started doing this, we would have a jar half-full of roaches every morning; after about three weeks, maybe two to three roaches in the jar. Thankfully, this method substantially reduced the population in our home. —Dawn